3D hardware on linux using DRI

This is a discussion on 3D hardware on linux using DRI within the Tech Board forums, part of the Community Boards category; I'm down to about 20 fps now with my FPS breakout and I still have not added lighting, etc, so ...

  1. #1
    spurious conceit MK27's Avatar
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    3D hardware on linux using DRI

    I'm down to about 20 fps now with my FPS breakout and I still have not added lighting, etc, so it occurred to me I might as well get a card. Friday night, I was going to order one online, then I noticed Best Buy had a bottom-o-the-line GeForce G210 for $50, which is what they cost online. Best Buy also recycles electronics and I had some garbage so I hopped on the bus (ps. looked like the place was hit by a tornado during the day ).

    I had the same set of problems I had last year with nvidia's drivers when I briefly owned a 9800. This might have been solvable, but complicating the situation was the fact my mobo did not like the G210 -- the pre-boot summary screen took ~ 5 minutes to render, and it cannot be disabled. After that everything is normal, but that is enough to make the whole system unusable anyway.

    BIOSTAR, who made the mobo, have nothing about this on their site, and the last firmware update is one I already have. I now suspect the whole problem with the drivers is also related to the mobo, since it is an IRQ and/or APCI (!) issue. So I will never buy another BIOSTAR product.

    To be honest, I'd rather avoid nvidia as well. I kind of got sucked in because it appeared that they had done a lot of work on the drivers and a lot of people have had success using them, but no doubt there are also a lot of people who have not.

    Ideally, I'd like to use Xorg's DRI, which has a driver for ATI cards (I have to use a PCI-e slot) that can be used with a mesa 3D driver. There is an nv one, but according to them this was provided by nvidia obfuscated and does not work well (it did not work at all with the G210). There is some new project to replace this ("nouveau") but I did not bother to try it because of the power-on issue.

    So, anyone out there done openGL stuff on linux with a GPU sucessfully? I'd really appreciate it if you'd provide:

    1) the card/GPU chipset
    2) the motherboard
    3) what kind of frame rates you're getting
    4) the driver, whether proprietary or Xorg

    Like I said, I'd prefer to use the Xorg drivers, I am sure they are way more motivated wrt linux than either nvidia or ATI, but I'm willing to entertain anything.
    Last edited by MK27; 11-30-2009 at 06:35 AM.
    C programming resources:
    GNU C Function and Macro Index -- glibc reference manual
    The C Book -- nice online learner guide
    Current ISO draft standard
    CCAN -- new CPAN like open source library repository
    3 (different) GNU debugger tutorials: #1 -- #2 -- #3
    cpwiki -- our wiki on sourceforge

  2. #2
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    nvidia's driver is much better than ati's on Linux. I recommend you stay with nvidia. I play several OpenGL games on my system with no issues at all (I use the proprietary driver).

    I use the GeForce G260 card with an evga motherboard (I forget the exact model). My framerates are always 60+.

    When you say the pre-boot summary screen took 5 minutes, which screen is this?
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    The nvidia proprietary driver works well for a lot of people. I have never programmed in OGL but I run a 3D desktop and a few 3D programs. The driver has never given me any trouble.

    I have a Gigabyte P35 board with a 9600 GT.

  4. #4
    spurious conceit MK27's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by bithub View Post
    When you say the pre-boot summary screen took 5 minutes, which screen is this?
    The screen where you see the BIOS doing a mem test, etc. Like prior to booting the OS. So there is no way I could keep the G210. I did try resetting the CMOS to default values, etc. etc. Clearly it does not like nvidia. With the 9800, it turned all the console text blue. That's a BIOSTAR P4M900 board with a Phoenix P4M90 bios. I imagine they are not saying anything about this if they can't fix it and still must sell a bunch of already manufactured boards. (It was cheap) [correction: see next post]

    I traded it for an ATI 4350, about the same price. As it turns out, altho the Xorg manpage for the ati driver says the 4350 is supported, after you install it, it says 3D glx acceleration is not available yet for the 4350. There's another driver, "radeonhd", that is in development -- anyway, that one doesn't work for the 3D acceleration either.

    At first I could not get ATI's own driver (which there is a 64-bit one) to work, but suddenly:

    [root~/C/projects/3Dbreakout] ./a.out
    bS1(0): 12.187500 4.062500 1.250000 0
    333 frames per second


    Actually it slows down to about 200 if I move around a lot -- needless to say, some recalibration is necessary. But looks like I should have a lot of room left to add stuff!

    I can't really recommend this to others, however. I had to recompile the kernel several times to fix "unresolved symbol" issues in the fglx module, which is built by the ATI installer. Also, it had some problems validating header files that I have never seen before.

    Another thing I won't recommend is Ubuntu 9.10 -- I've heard so much great stuff about it, so after I was sick of messing around, before the driver started working, I thought I'd try that since they package those drivers pre-built. I was a little ticked that there is no 64-bit, but I was desperate.

    THE GODDAMN UBUNTU INSTALLER AUTOMATICALLY RESIZED ALL MY PARTITIONS, despite the fact that I did not choose an option that required any such thing. Imagine my horror when the process started...I actually took a photograph of the screen, showing my partitioning option checked and then the "resizing in progress" popup which appeared anyway. Which some ubuntu staff will be getting a copy soon, I hope.

    And it did a totally absurd job. I started out with 3 partitions and some empty space; one of the partitions was empty, which I wanted to use for Ubuntu. Any sane installer I have ever seen would just show you your partitions, and ask "Which partition would you like to use?" But not Ubuntu! No sir! Clearly too smart for that. Guess what I have now -- SIX partitions including one extended?!?? I can't wait to wipe the damn thing off my hard drive. Then I guess I have to resize stuff again, which I hate.

    Finally, the ATI card won't let me use a virtual res of 2560x1600. Sigh. It seems virtual desktops are just not something anyway cares about anymore.

    *RPM fusion has some fc10-64 ones, but they don't fly.
    Last edited by MK27; 12-01-2009 at 03:46 PM.
    C programming resources:
    GNU C Function and Macro Index -- glibc reference manual
    The C Book -- nice online learner guide
    Current ISO draft standard
    CCAN -- new CPAN like open source library repository
    3 (different) GNU debugger tutorials: #1 -- #2 -- #3
    cpwiki -- our wiki on sourceforge

  5. #5
    spurious conceit MK27's Avatar
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    Oh, BIOSTAR got back to me:

    That gx card is pcie 2.0 and the slot on your board is pcie 1.0
    [Sheepish grin]

    The ati one is 2.0 too, but so far all is fine.
    C programming resources:
    GNU C Function and Macro Index -- glibc reference manual
    The C Book -- nice online learner guide
    Current ISO draft standard
    CCAN -- new CPAN like open source library repository
    3 (different) GNU debugger tutorials: #1 -- #2 -- #3
    cpwiki -- our wiki on sourceforge

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    That's BS.

    PCI-E 2.0 is downward compatible with PCI-E 1.0. Any combination of versions (1-2, 2-1) should work.

    I run my 9600 GT (a PCI-E 2.0 card) on my PCI-E 1.0 board, too. It runs perfectly.

    Nowadays I only get motherboards from Gigabyte and Asus. People say Asus has higher quality, but Gigabyte is quite a bit cheaper and always works for me.

    The $10-$20 saved is really not worth the hassle.

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    Quote Originally Posted by cyberfish View Post
    Nowadays I only get motherboards from Gigabyte and Asus. People say Asus has higher quality, but Gigabyte is quite a bit cheaper and always works for me.
    Au Contraire, i find that Gigabyte motherboards are by far the most reliable money can buy! And as you said yourself, they are cheaper. I have their top-of-the-line board running in my desktop at the moment, it's been going for a year now with no hickups at all, even after a fried Corsair PSU (And by fried i mean, completely toasted, the entire room was smelly for 3 days.) and....offensive overclocking attempts :P
    How I need a drink, alcoholic in nature, after the heavy lectures involving quantum mechanics.

  8. #8
    spurious conceit MK27's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by cyberfish View Post
    That's BS.

    PCI-E 2.0 is downward compatible with PCI-E 1.0. Any combination of versions (1-2, 2-1) should work.
    I was just about to get all indignant again, but that's not quite true:

    Quote Originally Posted by wikipedia
    PCIe 2.0 cards have good backward compatibility, new PCIe 2.0 graphics cards are compatible with PCIe 1.1 motherboards, meaning that they will run on them using the available bandwidth of PCI Express 1.1. Overall, graphic cards or motherboards designed for v 2.0 will be able to work with the other being v 1.1 or v 1.0.
    Which I take to mean no one guarantees a 2.0 card will work perfectly in a 1.0 slot. The reason I missed all this is that the mobo & docs do not say "1.0" -- it just says "PCIe". However, it is encouraging vis, the functionality of the 4350.

    The 9800 did work, it just had a funny effect on the console display, which I imagine so few users would care about that, it might as well have been the card itself.

    AFAICT, it is impossible to get anything less than a 2.0 video card now (since these two were really the very bottom of the line), so something to consider when buying a motherboard, because possibly a lot of them are still using the 1.0 slots (eg, my P4M900 is still available, etc). No doubt people upgrade their video card more often than the mobo, so this is some "fall out" in the manufacturing supply chain.
    Last edited by MK27; 12-01-2009 at 05:40 PM.
    C programming resources:
    GNU C Function and Macro Index -- glibc reference manual
    The C Book -- nice online learner guide
    Current ISO draft standard
    CCAN -- new CPAN like open source library repository
    3 (different) GNU debugger tutorials: #1 -- #2 -- #3
    cpwiki -- our wiki on sourceforge

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    Hmm that's interesting.

    I've built quite a few computers in the last year or two, and have mixed and matched PCI-E versions, and my experience has always been, if it fits in the slot, it will work. But then I only use Gigabyte boards.

    What chipset is the motherboard?

  10. #10
    Cat without Hat CornedBee's Avatar
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    ATI:
    open-source "radeon" driver: for all cards, 3d up to r500, experimental for r600 and r700. My crappy card works very poorly with it, but I blame the hardware
    open-source "radeonhd" driver: mostly experimental, for r500 and above
    closed-source "fglrx" driver: recently only for r600+, best feature support and speed, but no support for newer Linux stuff like kernel mode setting. Often lags behind in its X server and kernel support

    NVidia:
    "open-source" "nv" driver: by NVidia, obfuscated 2d-only driver, more and more out of maintenance
    open-source "nouveau" driver: based on reverse-engineering, supports 2d and some basic 3d, still pretty experimental with slow progress
    closed-source "nvidia" driver: overall probably the best graphics driver available for Linux
    All the buzzt!
    CornedBee

    "There is not now, nor has there ever been, nor will there ever be, any programming language in which it is the least bit difficult to write bad code."
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  11. #11
    Woof, woof! zacs7's Avatar
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    No problems for me with nVidia under Linux. I've been using the "nvidia" and sometimes "nv" driver (read: Sometimes ) for years with no problems.

    I've been a long Gigabyte fan, but IMO their quality is terrible. I've had many issues recently, including noisy capacitors (squealing) to broken on-board sound chips. The Engrish in the installers is hard to read too . Thinking of a shift to Asus.

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    Haha the Engrish is awesome. Shows that an engineer actually wrote it. Tech support is pretty good, too. They actually have real people replying with real answers (beta BIOSes, etc), even if only in Engrish. I usually just go to the Chinese site and leave my messages in Chinese, since I speak more Chinese than they do English.

    Never tried their warranty service, though.

  13. #13
    Woof, woof! zacs7's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by cyberfish View Post
    Haha the Engrish is awesome. Shows that an engineer actually wrote it.
    That's an odd conclusion to arrive at

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    The engineers are Chinese. Marketing people are American.

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